that is more affordable now than ever before, and is used to produce electricity for a wide variety of residential and commercial uses. This electricity produced from sunlight will be a key part of our journey toward a sustainable energy future. Solar power is a good way to help the environment, because we reduce or entirely eliminate fossil fuel use, and we also save money, because the electricity generated by solar systems is considered to be free once the systems are in place.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, which produces electricity from the sun’s light, is not the same as solar thermal technology, which produces usable heat for buildings from the sun’s heat. In photovoltaic solar systems, solar panels made of silicon become charged with solar light energy, which is then converted into electricity¹.
In the Northern Hemisphere, solar PV panels face south, and in the Southern Hemisphere, solar PV panels face north in order to capture solar light energy the most efficiently.
As the solar light energy is captured and collected within the PV panel, the conductors in the panel convert the sunlight into Direct Current (DC) electricity, and then this DC current flows into an inverter. The converter transforms the DC current into Alternate Current (AC), which can be used to power things in residences and other buildings that require electricity¹,².
For any extra solar-generated electricity that is not used on site, there are two primary options and one hybrid option:
- On-grid systems
One drawback to this type of solar system is that when the grid is down, the system might not be utilized³.
- Off-grid systems
- On-grid solar systems with a battery backup